Astigmatism FAQs

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a vision condition in which light entering the eye can't be focused. Vision is blurred at all distances as a result. Astigmatism is not a disease, but rather a common vision condition. It often occurs with other refractive errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Why does astigmatism occur?

Typically, astigmatism occurs when the front of your eye (the cornea) is more oval than round. This shape doesn't allow light to focus properly on the back of your eye (retina). The causes of this irregular shape vary. It can be hereditary, or it may result from pressure of the eyelids on the cornea, trauma and scarring of the cornea, or the vision disorder keratoconus.

What are signs/symptoms of astigmatism?

People with significant amounts of astigmatism will usually have blurred or distorted vision. People with mild astigmatism may experience headaches, eye strain, fatigue or blurred vision at only certain distances.

How is astigmatism diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye examination by your doctor of optometry will include testing for astigmatism.

How is astigmatism treated?

Astigmatism can generally be corrected with properly prescribed and fitted eyeglasses or contact lenses. A surgical treatment option, LASIK, alters the shape of the cornea. Or, a procedure called orthokeratology uses a series of rigid contact lenses to provide improved vision for extended periods of time. Your doctor of optometry can help you decide what treatment is right for you.

How common is astigmatism?

Most people have some degree of astigmatism. However, usually only individuals with moderate to highly astigmatic eyes need corrective lenses.

How will astigmatism affect me?

You may have to adjust to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses if you do not wear them now. Other than that, astigmatism probably will not significantly affect your lifestyle. Astigmatism may change slowly. Regular optometric care can help you maintain proper vision.